I have a bit of problem with Nigeria politics. It stems from standing strong on principles and holding out very high superior principles even when inferior principles, bending a little backward would do one “great” good on a personal note. Plato was very correct when centuries ago he looked into the human horizon and came up with the philosophy that, “no man is more hated than the man who says the truth.” Our political culture loathes principles and the truth, no wonder Bishop David Oyedepo says men have discarded principles and so have made a wreck of everything in the land.
Check and see for yourself, you will see the country we all love very dearly, a country styled «hope of the Blackman» at birth has not only been run aground, it has been driven to the edge of cliff, waiting for the little final push to tumble into the abyss. Every other country that got independence at the time we did, a little more than 60 years ago has grown far better than ours; some of them have entered the periphery of first class nations. We can name a few here: India, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, Taiwan and a few others.
As you read this national growth has reduced from five percent eight years ago to a fraction over one per cent (1.1%), inflation has grossed over 20 per cent, an all high in more than 30 years. The national currency is dangerously tumbling each new day. By mid last week it was N700 to one dollar, debt ratio has gotten into the crisis mode. Statistics show clearly we have a country in big trouble.
What is the intention of this elaborate introduction? Simple, we are into the crucial stages of the democratic time, election period, when the people would once again have the power to elect old leaders or make fresh choices in terms of leadership personnel. This is what gives democracy its essence, it is the major difference between democracy and other forms of governmental system discovered by man. Now democracy would not receive the level of approval it currently enjoys if there were to be no political parties in place. Open race would definitely crowd the space and make the process rowdy and very confusing.
It will blur the messages since there will be too many voices talking at the same time, it will throw up many aspirants as well, choice will be very difficult. If it is one party or even two it won›t kindle interest besides, the possibility of a hijack by a rich and daring oligarchy could be very high. Multi-party system is great while two or three gravitate to be strong parties. This is where today›s discourse comes into play or becomes of immense significance. We run a multi-party democracy which as I have made observed is worthy, it is strategic that two strong parties have evolved from deft political engineering rather than a matter of ideology.
This is advantageous to nation building because they offer balance of power against misgovernance and more importantly, abuse of power. Without this balance dictatorship can creep in even though democracy is in practice. We have seen the possibility of a civilian dictator in recent years has been checked to an extent by the fact that democracy is in place and we have another party that can offer a credible push if a greeting leaves the hands and become a shove. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) offered the alternative until now. This is why a true lover of progress must be concerned about not only its survival but stability and good stead at a time like we are into right now.
It offers very credible alternative, it is not only home to all Nigerians of different races and creed, it was the ruling party right from 1999 when our country began another go at democratization of the political space, after so many years of the military in power. There is this point about the PDP which most Nigerians hardly give a thought to and which is vital to note and take very seriously because of its implications for security, peace and proper development of our space, that point is the party is the natural home of the nation›s conservative class. It is the traditional base of the money class; we have their equivalents in Republican and Conservative parties of America and Britain. Destroy PDP or put it in disarray today we tinkle with the equilibrium of the entire nation.
When the property and business class scatter with no defined focus to engage them, we create an atmosphere for severe instability. The vacuum leaves their minds running riots and with huge funds to play only God knows what next. This is why what is happening in the party should be of great interest to all, this should be in addition to the need to stabilize party politics in our clime and to create sound and productive political culture for the country. Today reckless defection from one party to another has become a big bane to national development. When a group left the party before the 2015 general election over issues that could be debated hotly and compromise extracted, many scholars knew what happened was in contrast to established patterns of the conservatives. They hardly break ranks.
The PDP managed to survive that but the run to next election in 2023 hasn›t been easy too. The emergence of Atiku Abubakar, a heavyweight politician in his right has not made matters easy. The main base of the party since 1999 has been South East and the South-South regions with the first paying more price for its total loyalty to the party. The expectation there given every calculation was that the South East would produce the presidential candidate of the party for 2023, that didn’t come through but it has created a fire that requires deft approach to quench. The presidential primary too was hotly contested, the end created obvious cracks that needed to be filled up. Neither the deft touches nor “sandfilling” has been seen, much was expected from Atiku given that he won the presidential primary and is also a very experienced political player.
Atiku for obvious fears of making far more critical mistakes took a back seat position, very much unlike the Atiku known to many who would go to another reasonable length to achieve a purpose. The race in 2023 will be a close race, it won’t matter the nature of campaigns. Atiku, the political war horse, would by now have visited South East to hold consultations. Truth be told he is that very efficient, but he hasn’t thought in that direction. It was unlike Atiku to go public with a statement that the aspirant who came a credible second in the presidential primary is not good enough to be Vice President, even if true great politicians of the class of Atiku won’t say it so.
It is politically suicidal to choose to isolate Governor Nyesom Wike, even if working alone like Atiku in 2015 and 2019, Wike has very viable options. He can choose to commit political “harakiri” by overlooking his past posture and joining forces with Bola Tinubu. If it happens it will be a huge plus to All Progressives Congress, because over two million votes will be in the offing. Wike can choose to remain and create the nuisance value. That will demarket Atiku like the on-going tussle is doing already. No good politician, especially the one looking for power, should toy with a man who has money and followership. North won’t totally abandon President Buhari because he means so much to base aspiration, he has in the last eight years in power demonstrated commitment to those ideals even though to the hurt of the greater desire of one, great united Nigeria. This is what Nigerians want to correc, it is an impossible task but it won’t come cheap.
Power can be wrestled by a united push, this is where dialogue, negotiations and compromise come in. The face of PDP today doesn’t reflect the new desire; so the national chairman can go in the interest of the party. It won’t hurt Atiku, after all Iyorchia Ayu is from Benue State where PDP is in power. By so doing Atiku will win back the protesters and the Benue Governor. Ayu can be given office if the party wins the 2023 poll. Same for Wike and others not contesting for any office this time.
Atiku if he must succeed must be himself. Truth is former Governors of Niger and Jigawa states, Babangida Aliyu and Sule Lamido from their utterances don’t seem to want an Atiku victory. They appear hegemonic, hateful and vengeful. They have been so and nothing wrong with politics of identity except that for PDP and Atiku this is not the time for that bent. All Nigerians are looking out for a unifer and a visionary. Atiku packs some experience. Now is the time to display talent. Gift not used is a waste.